While Life Insurance Corporation of India's (LIC) appointed actuary G N Agarwal and Munich Re's S Madhusudhanan, were reelected as vice president and treasurer respectively, K S Gopalakrishnan, appointed actuary, Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Limited was elected as the new secretary in place of R Hemamalini, the appointed actuary, ING Vysya Life Insurance Company Private Limited.
Interestingly, all the selections were unanimous without any contests.
Dr Kannan assumes office at a crucial juncture. It may be recalled that the government has proposed converting the ASI into a statutory body similar to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. The Actuaries Bill 2005, which contains this proposal, is expected to be placed in parliament anytime. If it is passed, Dr. Kannan is likely to go down in history as its first president.
Dr Kannan, a fellow member of ASI, is on deputation to SBI Life from the Reserve Bank of India where he served as adviser, department of economic analysis and policy. During 1994-98, he served as adviser in the International Monetary Fund, Washington, and during 1992-94, he was adviser to the governor, Bank of Mauritius, Mauritius. He is the chairman of the five-member Exempt-Exempt-Taxed (EET) committee formed by the union government.
Dr Kannan holds a masters in econometrics from the Madurai University from where he also acquired an M A in economics. He did his PhD., from Bombay University and in 1987-88 he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, under Nobel laureate, Prof. Lawrence Klein. Dr Kannan has written about 40 research papers and served in eight working groups relating to various aspects of money and finance.
Shortly after his selection, Dr Kanana spoke to domain-b on his immediate priorities. Excerpts:
How do you feel now?
Personally, I am happy. But this is a very responsible position.
What is your agenda for ASI in the areas of popularising the profession, enrolling new members, etc?
I will concentrate on spreading the actuarial gospel within India.
Among my priorities is to popularise the profession amongst students. The actuarial profession offers good prospects these days not only in the insurance sector but also in other fields.
Can you mention other fields which will need actuaries?
For instance after the implementation of the Basel-II norms, actuaries will be in demand in the banking sector as they are better positioned in risk management.
I will concentrate on those students who have passed 80 per cent of the subjects and help them pass the remaining papers. This would be done by holding coaching classes, etc. Similarly, we will conduct seminars for continuous upgradation of knowledge of our existing members.
There is a complaint that ASI's seminars are concentrated in one or two cities…
I have plans to hold seminars even in small cities like Ranchi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and others. For instance the global actuarial conference will be held in Mumbai and not in Delhi as it used to be.
Your predecessor had said that there is no need to give statutory status to the ASI. What is your view?
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I will go by the earlier decision of ASI's executive committee. The executive committee is the supreme body. (The ASI's executive committee had decided in favour of the Actuaries Bill).